A fascinating and educational piece of literature written by Erich Maria Remarque is ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. Established in 1898, this German author discusses his reflections and views about the First World War. Via the eyes of a young German infantryman, the novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” portrays the tumultuous events of the battle. Despite the arguments that the tale of Remarque is considered a piece of fiction, most eyewitnesses affirm that during the deadly battle, the acts and circumstances mentioned in the book occurred. Remarque explains the operations that took place in the trenches dug behind the front lines, but far from the war fronts. However, the author failed to provide the exact names of the places where the activities took place but explained that Paul’s experience was that of a typical soldier taking part in the war.
The Face of the Battle gives detailed accounts of the occurrences of three wars from the views, perspectives, and experiences of the participants. The combats described by John Kegan include The Somme that occurred in 1916, Waterloo battles of 1815, and the Agincourt war of 1415. The described battles are both historical and non-fictitious. Keegan begins the book by defining the key parameters that he hopes to achieve through the piece of literature and describes a battle not only as small-scale skirmishes or fights but also a fight that must be obedient to the laid prescribed rules, and the dramatic collaborations of place time and action. Keegan also portrays his individual feelings while describing the occurrences in the battle (Keegan 83). Finally, the author provides facts and data about the three wars, their differences and the intensity of damage both on the Homefront and the warfront. The Face of the Battle can be summarized as a piece of research whereby the author examined and explored the experiences of the participants of the three battles and summarized them in one piece of literature.
The primary similarity between the battlefield and the Homefront as described by both authors is the presence of suffering and weeping. Remarque explains that Paul whispered “If you find my watch, send it home– I am wretched with helplessness. This forehead with its hollow temples, this mouth that now seems all teeth, this sharp nose! And the fat, weeping woman at home ” (Remarque 15) Therefore, weeping was present both in the warfront and at home. The quote also describes gender roles and the responsibilities of men. Women would weep at home indicating that all men were charged with the task of being soldiers and protecting their lands.
Another key similarity among the authors is the environments both at the battlefield and the home front. Paul says “out here you have a faint resemblance to home; your rooms, full of the smell of stale food, sleep, smoke, and clothes (Remarque 21).” Paul’s words also portray the class of the soldiers involved in the battle. According to Paul, the narrator, the rooms that the soldiers lived in had a smell of stale food, clothes smoke and sleep indicating that the German home front comprised of persons who were impoverished. Lastly, the engines used in wars were different from those used at home. At the warfront, powerful engines were used that were dissimilar to those in the warfront (Keegan 84).
The primary dissimilarities between the battlefield and the home front are that there existed deadly combats in the warfront unlike home where there was peace. According to Remarque, “It can happen if it likes; a broken arm is better than a hole in the guts, and many a man would be thankful enough for such a chance of finding his home way again.” (Remarque 25). Similar sentiments are echoed by Keegan when he describes the magnitude of the three battles. The Homefront did not also experience the first-hand deadly impacts of the war-making peace to prevail (Keegan 85). Remarque describes how soldiers would get drunk and take a train with their mothers during peacetime (Remarque 36). Keegan described all the battles using juxtaposition whereby the battles of Waterloo, Agincourt, and Somme are described concurrently and explains that magnitude of the scales of the wars had increased exponentially. The threshold of the war could be felt on the Warfront more than at home. Lastly, the lifestyles of the soldiers were diversified. Some militants found home to be better than the battlefield while other opined that the battlefield was better than home (Remarque 38). However, war made all the soldiers equal. Keegan introduced the concept of religiosity and stated that the lifestyles of the soldiers both at the warfront and at home were defined by their faith (Keegan 86).
In summary, “All Quiet on the Western Front” describes the intensity of the great war and describes the occurrences that transformed the political landscapes of most countries in Europe and also the perceptions and values of the civilized western community. Before the occurrence, the war, Britain and other countries in the west formed alliances that divided the continent into two distinct and hostile camps. The Face of the Battle provides accounts of three battles that happened in different times through the experiences of the participants. The two books have many similarities. However, the key difference is that the battles described occurred at different times where the warfare technology varied. Remarque also utilized first-hand experiences while Keegan researched to unearth the occurrences of the war.
Keegan, John. The Face Of Battle. New York: Penguin Group, 1976. Print.
Remarque, Erich Maria. All quiet on the western front. Vol. 68. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2004. Print